Three of the most serious threats facing humans on the planet are now not separate, separate threats, but manifestations of a single common threat that has not been previously recognized, scientists claim.
An international team of more than 40 experts has identified what it calls "The Global Syndemic": three interconnected health pandemics effectively influenced by the shadowy manipulations and influence of commercial interests – a unit collectively known as "Big Food "is instrumented. 19659003] Researchers say that the interplay of obesity, malnutrition and climate change is the most serious known threat to human and planet health and represents the "greatest challenge" to our species and the environment.
Usually these public health threats are considered as separate, even conflicting issues, but the authors of the new report insist on something else.
"Malnutrition and obesity have so far been regarded as polar opposites of either few or too many calories," says global health scientist Boyd Swinburn of the University of Auckland.
"In reality, both are driven by the same unhealthy, unjust food systems that are underpinned by the same political economy geared for economic growth and ignoring the negative effects on health and justice."
The "environmental science" of climate change is often seen as a distance from the "health science" of nutrition and nutritional policies ̵
"Climate change has the same history of profits and power, ignoring the environmental damage caused by current food systems, transportation, urban design and land use," says Swinburn.
"Bringing together the three pandemics, as The Global Syndemic allows us to consider common drivers and common solutions, with the goal of breaking decades of political inertia."
The research team led by Swinburn and William Dietz , a researcher on obesity prevention, began three years ago with the study of their project initially with a single mandate to investigate the drivers of obesity.
It was not until they had worked out the seemingly unyielding nature of the dilemma that the larger, overarching theme – The Global Syndemic – came into focus.  When they reformulated the problem, the sad fact of the ever-increasing prevalence of obesity in society became easier to understand.
"No country has successfully reversed its epidemic The systemic and institutional drivers of obesity remain largely undiminished," the authors write in their report.
According to the researchers, this is even the case when governments advocate policy recommendations to stop and reverse obesity rates, not translate their efforts into a meaningful or measurable change because of what they call "political sluggishness".
This lethargy is due in part to inadequate political leadership and in part to a lack of public demand for change. We can not deny the strong influence Big Food players have, according to the researchers, who are constantly against changes in the status quo.
"The similarities with Big Tobacco lie in the damage they cause and the behaviors of the companies that benefit from them," says Dietz, who works with his co-authors for a global treaty for power and to limit the influence of the food industry on government policy.
"A Food Systems framework would help to strengthen individual nations against their own commercial interests, redirect the huge subsidies that currently benefit the unhealthy industry, and provide full transparency."
Transforming economic incentives requires researchers to set up a billion dollars to support social movements that demand political action.
Most importantly, it is time to rethink how we view these health pandemics: not as separate but as a common, interconnected problem that is ultimately supported by huge companies that are not our health interests still centering on those of the planet.
"Current trends in economic development, population growth and food supply estimate that total demand for food and animal food will increase by 50% and 70%, respectively, by 2050, further destabilizing the effects of deforestation The result will be species extinction and the acceleration of climate change, "explains an editorial commentary to the study published by The Lancet .
This is a provocative line of reasoning – and directly follows the related research that has recently been published in The Lancet which argued for how radical global diets must change to the world in about three decades to feed sustainably.
Of course, not everyone agrees with the malicious characterization of the main actors of Big Food; Disagreements come in particular from their speakers.
"Only those who have the most extreme views could believe that refusing our position on the table for political decisions would help improve nutrition and nutrition," said Tim Rycroft, COO of UK Food and Drink Federation, CNBC reported.
Similar positions on the new paper were taken by Washington-based associations of the International Council of Beverages and Coca-Cola.
Researchers find this resistance to their conclusions unnecessary, even if it is not unexpected given their results.
"We're not trying to get the food industry out of business," said one of the authors, food policy researcher Corinna Hawkes of City, University of London, to Bloomberg
"We want it to exist, but we want it it exists in other ways. "
It is not entirely clear where we want to go, but the comprehensive new report offers no shortage of recommendations and strategies for governments and decision-makers who are careful.
In any case, it is clear that something has to change – and fast.
"What we are doing now is not sustainable," Dietz said in a telephone conference to the media to discuss the new results
"The only thing we can hope for is that a sense of urgency pervades have no time left. "
The results are reported in The Lancet .